Every January, most of us make resolutions and goals for the New Year. We either plan on becoming better people, or dream of maintaining gratefulness in what we presently have. For me, my goal for 2019 is to celebrate our differences.
We all seem to be trending towards staying in our comfort zone, and one of the easiest ways to stay there is to spend time with people who are just like us.
These people agree with us, they think how we do think, and have a similar opinion on the questions we ask. But even if this seems to make our lives easier, there is also a hitch.
By only spending time with people like us we can't grow; despite feeling slightly comfortable hanging around people who differ from us, doing so helps us to grow.
1. INCREASES SELF-AWARENESS
Being around those who think differently than we do actually helps us to better understand ourselves. We consider the reasons why we decide to be who we are. It also helps us to move away from a “Me versus them " and a "good versus bad" mentality.
2. INCREASES CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS.
People who are different demand that our thinking, our perception, and what we consider to be normal be brought to the forefront of our thinking. We can easily fall into the trap of seeing things only from our limited perspective. Being with others who see things differently, makes us aware that there are many different perspectives.
3. IMPROVES DECISION-MAKING SKILLS
Having people around us who are able to see situations from many different angles helps us to get a more complete and clearer picture, from which we can then make better informed decisions.
Abraham Lincoln was well known for putting people in his cabinet who thought quite differently from him. While many would find this threatening, he realized he had blind spots in his own thinking and needed people who were strong in the areas that he was weak in. This helped him form a strong multi-faceted team that was seldom caught off guard because they had not thought of all aspects of an issue.
Ram Dass, the famous New England philosopher once said,
“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
All of us here at GMSS, wish you a grateful and different 2019.